Colts fire Chuck Pagano after six seasons
Chuck Pagano is out after six seasons in charge of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts made the move about an hour after Sunday's 22-13 win over the Houston Texans and went 4-12 this season, missing the playoffs for the third straight year.
Colts owner Jim Irsay gave Pagano the game ball following Sunday's home win and Pagano was seen making his rounds through the locker room hugging each player with tears in his eyes.
"Chuck Pagano provided Colts fans with many exciting wins and memories as head coach of the Colts," Irsay said in a statement on the Colts' website.
"Throughout his tenure in Indianapolis, he impacted the lives of the players he coached, those who he worked with in the organization and Colts fans across the globe.
"Chuck's first season was one of the more inspirational stories in NFL history as he courageously battled and overcame leukaemia. As a result, his CHUCKSTRONG Foundation has raised millions for cancer research.
"We are thankful for Chuck's contributions to our franchise and community and we wish him, Tina and the entire Pagano family nothing but the best moving forward."
Pagano went 53-43 as the Colts coach and led the team to three straight playoff appearances in his first three seasons. After the Colts reached the AFC Championship Game in 2014, injuries derailed the team's postseason hopes over the last three years. They were without quarterback Andrew Luck for the entire 2017 season after he underwent surgery last January to repair a torn labrum that has bothered him since 2015.
Irsay fired general manager Ryan Grigson last year, but kept Pagano at the time. Pagano has been on the hot seat the last two years and acknowledged in early December he knew his "shelf life" wasn't long. After a trio of 11-5 seasons and two AFC South titles, the Colts had consecutive 8-8 seasons before the disappointing 2017 campaign.
One thing that likely doomed Pagano more than anything else was his combined 0-8 record against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots, losing by an average of more than 24 points to each perennial AFC contender.
The Colts hired Chris Ballard as the team's new general manager 11 months ago and will now be looking for a new head coach. Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable have been reported to be possible replacements for Pagano.